Summer vacation is right around the bend. That's right folks, we're in the home stretch now. After finals, it's nothing but sandy beaches, midnight ice cream runs, and if you're me? Slaving over online classes because the nightmare of general education credits never ends. My friends have one of two things planned this summer: spend as much time with their significant others as possible or, if they don't have one, spend as much time pining for a significant other as possible.
The first group has my unwavering support. I will gladly knock on their door and ask if they need anything, like a drink or a snack or a condom. It's the second group that raises little red flags in the back of my head.
Here's a bit of wisdom I've discovered after nearly two decades of living on the planet: it is perfectly fine to be single. It gives you a chance to work on yourself and become the best you that you can possibly be.
When you're on the desperate lookout for someone to call your boo, you settle. When you settle, you compromise your standards. When you compromise your standards, well, you meet a breed of humans I affectionately nickname "garbage kids." These are the types of people who give minimal effort in relationships and sap all your energy like some sort of happiness vampire. Look in the mirror. You don't deserve that. You're a smart, independent son'a bitch who don't need to settle for no dumpster person.
Here are three things to do this summer instead of forcing yourself to find a relationship.
1. Take up an artistic hobby.
Head over to your local Michaels and mosey on over to the five dollar rack. Pick up whatever suits your fancy, like a watercolor paint set, a pack of crochet hooks, or a brand new sketchbook. Check out, go home, and watch a YouTube tutorial on how to do said artistic hobby. Then, have fun! Go outside and enjoy the fresh summer air while you weave a coaster. Paint the sunset from your backyard. Catch up on your favorite Netflix show as you sketch your favorite actor's jawline (Joe Keery is a god among men; you can't change my mind). Don't worry about if it's "good" or not because I'm going to let you in on a little secret: it's automatically good because you made it.
2. Volunteer and spread kindness.
We, as humans, all have one superpower: the ability to be kind. There's no greater feeling in the world than just helping someone out of the kindness of your heart. No expectations, no rewards, just you being kind because you chose to be. This summer if you're able to, why not use your ability to help someone less fortunate? Lend a hand at your local homeless shelter. Share your talents at a summer camp. If you're really feeling ambitious, sign up for one of those stay-away camps that help build houses for the poor. Ok, if you just want to stick your toe in the pool rather than jump in from the high dive, going through your closet and donating old clothes is just fine too. This summer, use your superpower. Be good. Spread your kindness.
3. Connect with the people around you.
Do you really know your best friend?
"Yes, of course, Milo!" You cry, "I've known my best friend Becky since we were in diapers! I know everything about her!"
Maybe. You may know her middle name, her sister's favorite movie, or the fact that she's one of the few rational people who thinks pineapples should stay a good three feet away from any pizza, but do you know any deeper information? This summer, take your best friend, your sibling, or just anyone you want to know better to one of those diners that are open twenty-four hours for midnight milkshakes and fries. Drive to a big open field, throw a giant comforter on the grass, and star gaze. Invite them to your house and go night swimming. Open up. Talk about your greatest fear. Explain your life goal in detail. Get vulnerable. It's scary, I know, but just trust me on this. When you trust someone and open yourself up, you become closer to them and connect with them on a deeper level. Your friendship only grows stronger.
This list is only the beginning. There's a million and one causes to dedicate your time to rather than pining after someone for the sake of a relationship. You're worth more than that. You deserve someone who meets and exceeds your standards. Look at your reflection in the mirror and repeat it.
I want to make one thing perfectly clear: it's okay to want a relationship. It's normal! Relationships are fun! What's not okay is to lower your self-worth just to be in one. You should want to be a romance because you're in love with the person, not the idea of them.
Mr. or Mrs. Right will come along when you least expect it. For now, have fun and indulge yourself in activities for you. You're worth it.